As Amitabh Bachchan celebrates his Birthday, ‘here’s my tribute to the legendary star and a few lessons I learnt from him’, says our Features Editor Suhana Bhatia
The first film I ever saw in a theatre was Mr. Natwarlal and the magic of the silver screen left me, well … B-dazzled. I slept that night, believing that the story continued behind the screen, even after I had left the dark auditorium. For days I made up an imaginary version for myself, thinking of what might have happened after that, and obviously scripted myself in there as well!
From then on, in my child-mind, Mr. Amitabh Bachchan was a superhero who could do ANYTHING … just like my dad. 2 absolutely reliable 6 footers who could totally take on anyone, and WIN!
Then I grew up ….
When it comes to the movies – being an adult and turning into a writer, who has watched a fair amount of behind-the-scenes, can be quite a spoiler!! Now I know the ‘tricks of the trade’, so to say … and having been involved in the process, can’t be fooled by too much … unless it’s a horror film, of course.
When it comes to Mr. Bachchan – watching him over the years, has been an insightful attempt to learn from what he does, and here’s a few BIG lessons from the many things Big B, the teacher has taught by example…
B Punctual: All industry insiders know that he’s not only on the sets before the exact call time, but he’s ready and rehearsed. He once said in an interview, that his is something he learnt from the iconic actor Pran saab.
In case you think “Oh he’s a celebrity and everything is handed to him on a platter! It’s easy for him”… from what we hear, Mr. Bachchan’s yoga teacher usually arrives at 4.30 a.m!
B the Phoenix: It take guts of steel to turn a 100-odd crore debt into a several hundred (or is it thousand?) crore amount on the asset side of your Balance Sheet. But Mr. Bachchan did it, and how! …. making everyone look up to him once again, in sheer awe and amazement.
It did not happen overnight. There was no magic wand waived. In fact, it probably took all his mental stamina and emotional strength to go out there, ask for work and take the most ‘uh-oh’ decision of his life. Television.
Well, guess who we think of, when we say ‘KBC’?
B Humble: Read any of his interviews today, and you will find him sharing the credit with everyone else but himself. Mr. Bachchan with all his love for branded watches, pens and cars, is as modest as they come.
In the late 90’s, when he had a 100 crore debt to repay, he dropped his ego and went to his friend, director Yash Chopra to ‘ask’ for work.
In 2012, at the River To River Florence Indian Film Festival, when he was receiving the ‘Keys To The City Of Florence’, he went on stage and expressed his wish to work with Anuraag Kashyap, who was sitting there in the audience!
Every time Mr Bachchan bends in humility, he rises in our eyes a lot more…. Here are his Best traits, traits that teach a lot
B Versatile: We all feel cosy in our comfort zones, and expect our success from staying within the imaginary niche that we have created for ourselves. He goes out there and demolishes all these walls, and dares to be different.
Films that are as different as Piku, Pink and Paa, television shows, advertisements for hair oil and polio drops, social media tweets, social appearances …. Mr. Bachchan does it all.
At some point in the 80’s, he even had some superhero comic books created based on him. (Betcha, most of you didn’t know this!!)
No matter what media you’re looking for him in, he’s on top of the game!
B Positive: There’s a quote which says ‘Always talk health and happiness to whoever you meet’ and Mr. Bachchan seemingly follows this mantra to the T.
Despite all the nightmarish health issues he might have faced, and still tackles after the ‘Coolie’ film mishap, one never hears of him giving his health as an excuse NOT to do something. Nor does one hear him crib or get anxious. He simply deals with it. Like a Boss!
B Well-spoken: All of us word-weavers and language-lovers are in awe of the way he chooses his words, when he speaks. Being the son of Shri Harivanshrai Bachchan probably gave him a few extra special genes in his DNA, but that doesn’t take away from his own genteel manner.
Journalists and interviewers often get frustrated, that they can never catch him on the wrong foot, but that’s what he’s so good at!
B a TEAM player: All those who have worked with him, swear by his involvement in the process of film-making. Like a true star, he knows that it isn’t enough to just shine by himself in a performance. He creates an atmosphere of excellence, where everyone can deliver their best.
That’s why his films are those that you always watch out for … and watch… more than once!
B Chivalrous: He charms everyone around by being chivalrous, the old-fashioned way. Letting women have the ‘right of way’ and the ‘right of say’, respecting everyone around him as equals, and as we always hear, being absolutely courteous are his trademark style.
If only he’d start a grooming academy, we’d have a lot of ‘boys’ turning into ‘men’. Sigh!
B Equanimous: In every situation, no matter what the chaos around him may be, this Libran stays calmly in control of himself and even in extreme situations, shows equanimity. No high drama, no tantrums, no tempers flaring, no boisterous bragging …. just a measured and balanced managing of things
Sometimes, we wish he could just reveal a little more of his real self … but that is likely to be reserved for only the ones he is closest to. It might be exasperating to decipher him at times, and yet we cannot help but admire this trait in Mr. Bachchan!
B Enigmatic: There are hordes of people who have studied with him, studied him, worked with him, known him over several years as a friend …. but there’s still an element of the unknown about him… which by the way is AWESOME.
No one can claim to know him ‘100%, inside out’ or anything like that. Even if everyone who knows him sat down in a room and shared all their stories about him, there’s still be missing pieces. He spells M-Y-S-T-E-R-Y…
Despite all this, he’s like Raymond… and we all know “Everyone Loves Raymond’!!
Still an hour to go for his birthday, but like him, we’d like to reach a little before ‘call time’ and wish him a splendid, stylish and supremely special year ahead! Happy birthday to our dear Mr. Bachchan.